Quitting often has a negative connotation, when it refers to giving up prematurely, being unable to achieve a goal or being a bad sport because things didn’t go the way a person wanted. Certainly these things do happen, not always with good consequences.

Winter, with its dearth of distractions, is the right season to quit quitting and get on with interrupted projects, Brenda E. Smith declares. Photo courtesy of Brenda E. Smith

But I believe quitting can be a positive option in our lives. Most of these helpful things we learned to quit as children, but they got pushed aside, covered in cobwebs from lack of use or simply ignored. It’s time to dust them off and start quitting again. Here’s a few things I think are useful for us to quit.

Quit doing things that hurt ourselves. To be at our best we need to have healthy bodies and minds. Making the decision to eliminate toxic things from our lives is a gift we can give ourselves. Whether the toxin is a substance, a lifestyle choice, an activity or a friendship, leaving it behind is the key to healing.

Quit being mean to (or ignoring) others. A kind word can instantly create a smile. A small act of kindness can unknowingly remove a huge struggle for someone. Kindness encourages kindness. There are no limits on kindness.

Quit being self-serving. None of us is the center of the universe. (Sorry to burst your bubble if you thought you were.) Each of us is only one part of a family, community, country or inhabitant of this planet. Our survival depends upon building and strengthening our relationships with all the other shared parts. Millions of minds working together is the most effective way to overcome the obstacles to a safe, healthy, prosperous life for all.

Quit gossiping. No good is achieved by circulating erroneous information. We all want to know what is happening around us. If you need answers to questions, ask the source directly or find the people who do have direct access to the source and ask them. Be responsible with what you share as the “truth.”

Quit insisting that your way of seeing the world is the only “right” way. Each of us is a unique person with our own individual life experiences. As a result, we each see the world through our own rose- (or other-colored) glasses. What we see is only what we see. If we have the patience to listen to what others say they are seeing, we might learn some things we didn’t know about our world.

Quit quitting. I don’t know of a single person on earth who has completed everything they’ve set out to do. We’ve all experienced starting a project, only to set it aside for some more important distraction. Winter is a great time to get restarted on a delayed house repair, to finish piecing together a quilt or to pick up a book that you put down at its midpoint. As for me, I just quit procrastinating about writing this essay and finished it.

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